Habermas pp 149-161 | Cite as

Labour and Interaction

  • Anthony Giddens
Part of the Contemporary Social Theory book series


Labour and interaction: innocuous-sounding terms, but ones around which Habermas has consolidated some of the main themes in his work. It makes sense to see most of Habermas’s work as concerned with what he has come to call the ‘reconstruction of historical materialism’ — a critical reformulation of the dominant concerns of Marx’s writings, both on the level of philosophy or ‘meta-theory’ and on the level of the development of industrial capitalism since Marx’s day. Habermas uses ‘reconstruction’ in a very deliberate way, as he makes clear. He is not interested, as he says, in reviving or ‘restoring’ traditional Marxist ideas: his preoccupation with Marx is not a scholastic or dogmatic one. As a tradition of thought which is very much alive, Marxism has no need for renewal. Rather, it is in need of a wholesale overhaul. ‘Reconstruction’, Habermas argues, ‘signifies taking a theory apart and putting it back together again in a new form in order to attain more fully the goal it has set for itself.’1


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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    See J. Habermas, ‘Remarks on Hegel’s Jena Philosophy of Mind’, in TP, p. 168; Karl Löwith, From Hegel to Nietzsche, trans. D. E. Green ( New York: Anchor Press, 1967 ).Google Scholar
  2. 19.
    Thomas McCarthy, The Critical Theory of Jürgen Habermas ( London: Hutchinson, 1978 ) pp. 24–6.Google Scholar
  3. 21.
    J. Habermas, ‘A Postscript to Knowledge and Human Interests’, trans. C. Lenhardt, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 3 (1973).Google Scholar
  4. 27.
    J. Habermas, Zur Logik der Sozialwissenschaften (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1970) pp. 170ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Giddens

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